Monday, January 16, 2012

Myths and Facts on Haiti's Adoption Program

I thought today I would try and write a little bit more about the Haiti adoption program. I decided to do this for two reasons. 1) It seems like A LOT of people we talk to are interested in this program, particularly since the devastating earthquake in 2010. We have been asked many questions about the Haiti program by a variety of people. And 2) There seems to be a great deal of confusion and misinformation out there about the Haiti program, including that they are still closed. Keep in mind, we are only just beginning the program and only know a tiny bit. But today I'd like to share the information that I do know.

Myth - Haiti is no longer allowing adoptions to occur since the earthquake in 2010.
Fact - Haiti did close the adoption program following the earthquake since many people were missing. They did not want to separate a child from parents that were searching for him/her. However, the Haiti adoption program has re-opened. This is a blessing because many more children became orphans due to the devastating earthquake 2 years ago. Right now there are approximately one million orphans in Haiti.

Myth - A family cannot adopt from Haiti if they have 2 or 3 children at home already.
Fact - Although it's possible some agencies may differ on how many children can already be in the home already to qualify to adopt from Haiti (I do not know), our current agency has a policy that you can have no more than 4 children in the home to qualify to adopt from Haiti.

Myth - You MUST be 35 years old to be able to adopt from Haiti.
Fact - The official Haiti law dictates that the prospective adoptive parent must be 35 or older. For married couples, one prospective adoptive parent may be under age 35, provided the couple has been married for ten years and has no biological children. That age requirement will enable an automatic requirement into the Haiti program. However, it is possible that these restrictions can be waived with permission from the President of Haiti. A word of caution here... according to the US Department of State, getting a waiver from the President of Haiti can be a long and lengthy process. This is something to take into consideration before moving forward with an adoption from Haiti.

Myth - All prospective parents must be married for 10 years to be eligible to adopt from Haiti.
Fact - If both husband and wife are over 35, they must be married for 8 years to get automatic eligibility. However, once again if that requirement is not met, a Presidential Waiver can be applied for.

Myth - Haiti's program is very restrictive in who they allow to adopt.
Fact - Every country, including the US, has basic requirements to fulfill in order to be eligible to adopt from them. The requirements can be different from country to country (and sometimes seem a bit odd, like South Korea's requirement of what prospective adoptive parents BMI can be!). But there are basic requirements to meet in any adoption program. This is where good research is important. A great place to start doing research about the various adoption programs is on Adoption.com or Loving Shepherd Ministries.

Chad and I have met all of the basic requirements to adopt from Haiti (with Kristin 2 years over 35 and Chad only 1 year over it - getting close to the big 4-0!), so we are automatically approved into the Haiti program. However, even if we didn't, there is a bit of wiggle room to still try to get into the program.

I hope this clears up any misinformation that exists about the Haiti adoption program. If you are interested further, we would be more than happy to talk to you! (If you haven't guessed, we love talking adoption!) We certainly don't know a ton of answers, but we have a great contact at our agency and some resources we can share that may be of help.

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